Panzanella Salad is deliciously chilled salad made with Italian bread, fresh ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onions, celery, and fresh basil. It is chilled over night to allow the bread to absorb all the flavors while it marinates in extra-virgin olive oil.
This is one salad you have to try. It is very easy to make, and full of flavors. We recommend you to use one day old bread, because in Italy, this was a way for the Italians to re-use their left over bread from the night before.
The dressing is basically a simple one and really nothing to it. The salt and olive oil are the two key ingredients that enhance the juices from the tomatoes, making this amazing marinade which infuses all the flavors into the bread.
Panzanella salad is so refreshing as a salad, you'll love serving this salad as an appetizer or eat it alone for lunch. It's terrific to bring at a buffet, picnic, or any large gatherings. Just remember, to serve it chilled!
Easy Classic Panzanella Salad
- 1 loaf of Italian bread, (prefer 1 day old) - sliced thick
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes- chopped
- 1/2 cucumber- diced
- 2 celery stalks- diced
- 1/2 cup sweet onion -diced
- 1 cup fresh basil- chopped
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large bowl filled with cold water, add the slices of bread.
Allow to soak in water for 10 to 20 minutes, depending how stale the bread is.
Using your hands, gently squeeze out the water from the bread. Break bread into small cubes or pieces and place into a different bowl.
Drizzle some olive oil over the bread, and toss the bread.
Add chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, and again drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes. Toss again.
Add cucumbers, sweet onions, celery and fresh basil.
Drizzle olive oil over the top. Toss the salad again.
Wrap bowl with clear wrap and chill over night.
Just before serving, toss salad once more. Taste for salt, adjust if needed. You can drizzle more olive oil to your liking and serve.
Yields 3 quarts